Wild Heart

So, this is a long one. Grab a cup of tea. :o) And, I wanted to write it last week, but then Elizabeth Gilbert happened. And I was like a maniac this last Thursday and Friday- I could not shut up. Full moon had me buzzin’.

Elizabeth Peru says today is the day to finally drop the habits and stuff that drags us down- to begin to value ourselves and let go of what doesn’t help us be our best. So, here we are. Come sit next to me and look out the window while I tell you about something new.

::: ::: ::: :::

I wrote about how on Tuesday I will take off for Seattle. But over the last 2 weeks or so, I have already travelled to a new land inside myself. It’s a place I call ‘Wild Heart.’

I created a Pinterest board to help understand the feel of what Wild Heart is to me. Of course, this is a bit inadequate for you, because the pictures and words represent my feelings and you probably don’t feel the same about them. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will try to tell you about Wild Heart and what it means to me.

 

Wild Heart is a feeling, I suppose. But feelings open the path to actions, so it is also a way of living. Wild Heart is how I am, if that makes sense.

It started as a clean, white room within myself. Nothing inside it. Clean and clear of anyone else. The window was open and a soft, white curtain blew in the breeze.

I stood inside this place inside myself for days and just admired that it was clean and open and free.

“I could put anything in here,” I thought.
And so I began to choose, very carefully, what went into this new psycho-emotional space.

Music that felt right. Some loud, some soft. The songs carried my Wild Heart and strengthened it.

Small things that I love. Small glass vases with wild flowers. Red paintings. A meditating frog. The mattress is on the floor with my down quilt. Each thing touched my heart and filled it with Wild when I looked at it.

I felt, inside myself, that I could rest here and be only myself and be free.

And it became a place of radical self-acceptance and self-confirmation.

 

Wild Heart is a place where I accept all of who I am. Dark and light. Love and hatred. Growth and death. Delight and silliness and then frustration and fatigue. Whatever I discover, I welcome. I rarely choose to act from difficult emotions (I want to choose from the best of who I am), but I accept all of them. And, damn, if that does not feel good.

 

The Wild Heart is a place where I feel I have completed a huge amount of emotional work and healing, and now I can enjoy the fruits of that labor. I do not react out of my 6 or 12 or 17 or 28 year-old self. I am fully 41 and I feel like a 41 year-old woman. A grown woman. I certainly still have thoughts and emotions that are immature, but I don’t let them carry me nearly as often or nearly as far.

The Wild Heart is the place where I confirm myself. As Nayyirah Waheed writes, “I am my own, before I am anyone else’s.” This has become a mantra to me in the Wild Heart. As much as I feel that I have always been my own, I see now how many things took up space inside of me. Capitalism and its call for perfection. Patriarchy and the way it warps the Feminine to its desires. Even the needs of my children and husband and friends were inside of me, begging for time. But now there is this space. And it is my own. And I start from there first.

I am quite sure I could not have reached this place were it not for the fact that my kids are now 12 and 9 years old. The first 5 years of a child’s life you spend utterly dedicated to it- creating what will be ‘normal’ for them and trying not to wreck their deepest, wordless psyche. But once they grow…oh, there is space. They are their own people now and I can pull back a bit and guide more than create or show. It’s still work, but not the physically exhausting kind. It’s fucking fabulous, honestly. And their growth leaves me freedom, which I just pour back into their growth, but with enthusiasm and joy.

 

The Wild Heart is the place where I notice what I want first. Do I like that painting? (I don’t ask him what he thinks first.) That dress, is it a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ when I feel inside my deepest self? What do I love on the menu (not what is vegetable-y and ‘good for me’)? I listen to my own thoughts and feelings and desires first. There are people who I wish to have confirmation from sometimes- my husband, a couple of elders I look up to, one teacher- but it also does not crush me if they don’t confirm me. I am my own before I am anyone else’s.

 

As I have inhabited this feeling and psychological space, interesting things have happened.

 

I am accepting of the depth and breadth of my sexuality and sensuality.

wild-heart-joanna

| what’s wrong with being confident? |

 

When I was going through the Sex Surge I felt like a feral cat. I could wear the sexy black lingerie and the thigh high pantyhose and make your wildest sexual dreams come true. And I absolutely needed to feel that and experience it in my body. I needed to be the wild woman in the bedroom- the control, the creativity, the expression (instead of repression).

But in the Wild Heart I’m just as likely to be the koala bear of love- soft, cuddly, and make such slow, sweet love that is like the embers of a long fire warming your whole body. You’re gonna feel just as good (and so is the climax), but it’s a completely different experience and part of myself.

And there are a thousand different flavors and experiences between these two sides of myself. In fact, I don’t even like to think of it as ‘sides’ anymore- I am a well, a pool of sensuality and I make magic from everything inside of me.

 

The Wild Heart woman also dresses a bit differently than I usually do. My style is based heavily on the 90s- jeans and boots and fitted t-shirts with short skirts thrown in for good measure. I only own four pairs of work pants, people (blue, gray, brown, and black: practical!). I have owned them for 10 years- they are cut well for my body, quality made, and I take good care of them. I’m not for fads.

skinny-jeans-wild

| new. improved. wild. |

 

But, the Wild Heart woman wanted a pair of skinny jeans! My old self was thinking, “oh, hell no!” I have what is kindly described as a ‘meaty’ ass and I have cyclists (read: thick) thighs. Skinny jeans seem rather faddish to me, as well. They are not for me. Except for this one pair. This one pair is totally and utterly the Wild Heart and I feel like a million bucks in them. (And please, feel free to steal my style while you create your own. Just don’t steal my tattoo artist, that’s a little too weird.)

The Wild Heart woman has a new way to be. And it’s my job (and my joy) to follow that with curiosity and devotion.

 

wonderwoman-cuffs-joanna

| everything old is new again. wisdom in action. |

 

Wild Heart woman is also reclaiming things from my past. I used to wear wrist cuffs all the time. My favorite watch is attached to a thick, black leather cuff and I look (and feel) like a badass in it. Wild Heart wants those back. They make her feel like Superwoman. No- they remind her of her power, that I am already Superwoman.

::: ::: ::: :::

 

And as much as there are new actions and clothes and the inclusion of old pieces, the place of the Wild Heart is also intensely more myself. I care about people and their growth and their souls so much. I want all of us to be healed and loved and seen for who we are. The deepest human wound is to hide parts of ourself so we can be loved- I don’t want that anymore. I want us to be who we are and be loved for it, completely. Because that’s how we heal. The Wild Heart also knows that some people don’t want to heal- and it’s a safe space for me to grieve that. Because grief is also welcome.

I am honing in on my gifts in Wild Heart. And giving those gifts to people who need and want them. I’m an amazing friend and guide and I am accepting how rare and precious that is. I’m worth a lot and I didn’t understand that before the Wild Heart space existed.

I suppose the ultimate example of what I have become is the fact that I went to see Bad Moms with a mom friend on Friday and then, immediately after, did a moon ritual for the Harvest full moon. That is the essence of Wild Heart to me.

 

In making space for the Wild Heart within me, I have also had to let go. That is the way of things- we build up one area by letting go of another. We make our way forward by letting go of what was behind. I have been crossing the monkey bars.

What got me here, what I’ve been struggling to let go of these last six months, was an old connection that existed outside of my marriage.

If you do even the slightest bit of research, you’ll figure out that the intermittent emotional rewards of extramarital interactions are exactly the same psychological pathways as addiction. Add the ‘love hormone’ of oxytocin to that mix and it makes those connections very potent- and very addictive. And then, when you try to leave, it feels like absolute hell. Even if you know it’s not healthy, you stay because it calms your brain down to stay. To break free is a hormonal, intellectual, and emotional rollercoaster ride of epic proportions. Add spiritual connection to the equation- as I did- and it takes it that much deeper. The only way out is hard work. Even then, it’s two steps forward, one step back.

I am a woman who grew a second heart. And I learned how to both let go of and also actively kill love. It goes against my beliefs in some ways, but it was also the right thing to do. It was the dark and the light and I hold the wisdom of both inside of me.

But what this years-long path got me to was self-confirmation and self love. And that is worth everything. Because now I have a Wild Heart.

I am really proud of who I have become in this process. I love being Wild Heart, and I cannot wait to see where else she takes me. Although, for a while, I hope to just stay within this space and enjoy it. I’ve worked so hard to get here, I deserve that. I just want to sit in confirmation of how amazing and good I am and how much good I can do in the world from here. In my skinny jeans, with my wrist cuffs, drinking milk stout, and being real. Love me or leave me- this is who I am.

Onwards, Wild Heart.

 

 

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